Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday In Meals + Preview of New DTFN Software

Hi, guys!

It’s been an exciting few days in Designed to Fit Land. We received our brand new custom software on Friday, which is absolutely AWESOME, but, like any new system, it had a few kinks. It was a hectic couple of days, trying to get meal plans to our clients, so they had time to food shop and prep before Monday, but we made it happen. And, once the meal plans were published in the system and delivered to clients, we barely had ANY issues at all, which just goes to show you just how user-friendly it is! 🙂 We’ve come a long way from Excel spreadsheets! Anyway, I’ll give you a little preview below, but, first, let’s talk about my Monday in Meals!


BREAKFASTLeftovers for the win! Breakfast was scrambled eggs, salsa, feta, red onions, and cilantro over mash potatoes, and it was so good! I’ll definitely have to remember this combo in the future! 🙂


WORKOUT: Monday at Salt Shack! I used #95 for the Front Squats and did about 15 C2B Pull-Ups and then scaled to Kipping Pull-Ups (aka I died) for the rest of the workout. I got 1+40. The Front Squats were brutal, especially after 5X2 Back Squats at #180. Oy. Quads on fire.



POST-WORKOUT: SFH Churro protein shake.


Then, a Pecan Sticky Bun iced coffee from Coffee Shack.


And half of a coconut donut, which was a “prop” for a video that I shot with Lucie. I mean, we couldn’t let a perfectly good donut go to waste!


LUNCH: Fully Loaded Taco Meat (from Real Food Slow Cooker Recipes – save 30% with code CARROTS30) with roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, red onions, and crumbled feta.


SNACK: A batch of 2-ingredient Banana Coconut Cookies and a mug of eggnog tea.


To make cookies: Just combine 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened) with a medium mashed banana. Form batter into 3-4 disks on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and then bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Allow to cool before eating. Makes 3-4 cookies.

DINNER: Teriyaki Chicken Drumsticks (from Real Food Slow Cooker Recipes) with peppers, onions, and carrots, over cauliflower rice mixed with brown rice. The drumsticks were incredible. The recipe is definitely a keeper!!


DESSERT: A bowl of Peanut Butter Puffins mixed with a big spoonful of peanut butter and mini chocolate chips

And… here’s a little preview of our brand new DTFN software!

Pictured below is part of a day of one of my client’s meal plans. We actually base each client’s weekly meal plan off just 3 days (that are set to their individual macronutrient prescription and activity level). The client alternates these 3 days for the entire week, typically based on their activity level (i.e. when they work out). We create our plans this way for three reasons:

  1. To make meal prep easy! That way, our clients aren’t cooking a million different meals and snacks on their prep day. It’s totally unrealistic to meal prep seven different breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks every week, so we want it to be manageable and, thus, sustainable for the long-term.
  2. And, for this reason, we don’t want our clients buying a million different groceries/ingredients, which, of course, means less food and money waste.
  3. Finally, our clients get a whole new meal plan with all new recipes/foods each week of their plan, so they don’t get bored eating the same things over and over again. Our past (and present) clients tell us that getting their new meal plan each week is one of their favorite parts about DTFN!


And here’s an example of what our recipes look like. They’re all available online and include the macronutrient breakdown for each serving. All of our recipes are easy and really tasty! 🙂 FYI: DFV stands for “dairy-free” and “vegetarian,” which helps us more easily find recipes when building our plans.


We actually had our first DTFN nutrition lecture over the weekend, so I’ll share a recap later this week!

The post Monday In Meals + Preview of New DTFN Software appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Dear Mark: Your Challenge Questions Answered

Too Many Questions. Pile of colorful paper notes with question marks. Closeup.Last week, you guys asked me a ton of questions as part of a contest. Today, I’m going to answer an initial batch. (If you don’t see yours, check back on Mondays to come when I’ll take up others.) First, can excess fat be stored as body fat? If so, how? Second, can this way of eating help with seasonal allergies? Third, what’s the proper pushup progression for someone who can’t do a full one? Fourth, when should I take my probiotics, vitamin D3, and fish oil? Fifth, is canned fish a viable way of obtaining omega-3s, or does the canning process damage the fats? Sixth, is there a trick to beating a weight loss plateau? Seventh, is there a way to make sardines palatable? And eighth, if you can’t walk one day, can you make it up the next?

Let’s go:

Hi Mark,
I’ve never found a great answer to what happens to excess fat that is eaten when one is an efficient fat burner. If insulin isn’t present to store it, does it get stored? By what pathway? Do we excrete it? I can guess that pathway.

Excess fat is stored as body fat thanks to acylation stimulating protein, or ASP. Like carbs stimulate insulin, dietary fat stimulates ASP, the “most potent stimulant of triglyceride synthesis.”

The trick is that when one is an efficient fat-burner on a low-carb, high-fat diet, it’s really, really hard to overeat enough fat to lead to major fat gain. Such a nutrient-dense metabolic milieu promotes satiety and reduces hunger, leading to the spontaneous and inadvertent reduction in calories. It’s this effect, coupled with the improvement in substrate utilization and retention of lean mass, that’s most responsible for the improved body composition and increased fat loss seen on these diets.

There’s always some insulin, by the way. And insulin doesn’t directly store fat. It switches the body into glucose-burning mode and hinders the release of stored body fat for burning.

Some excretion occurs, yes, but not much. We’re quite efficient at absorbing and utilizing dietary fats.

Hi Mark,
I was wondering if the 21 day challenge and primal eating would be able to help with seasonal allergies. The cedar tree pollen is killing the entire family this winter ?

It might. Check out these two posts on the subject I wrote.

Long story short, these tips may help you:

I struggle with push ups. Are there any other exercises that I can do other than push ups to build those muscles?

Totally. Start with wall pushes. Progress toward full floor pushups by gradually lessening the angle between you and the floor. So, from wall pushes you’d move to counter pushes to coffee table pushes to pushups on the lowest step on a staircase. When those get easy, you can probably graduate to a full pushup on the floor.

Whatever you do, always maintain the proper plank position.

Hello Mark, I am excited for this 21 day challenge, as I incorporate supplements into my diet, does the timing of when I take my soil, oil, and sun (Vit D) matter? Can I take them together in the morning, at lunch, are there different times they need to be taken?
Chris L

It doesn’t seem to matter too much.

Some people report sleep disturbances taking vitamin D late in the day (with vitamin D acting as a daytime signal for your circadian rhythm).

You might absorb probiotics better with food or 30 minutes before a meal, since they seem to survive the transit through our gut when taken this way (as opposed to after a meal). This makes perfect sense given how we’ve historically encountered probiotics: attached to the food in the form of dirt (soil based organisms) or intrinsic to the food (fermentation).

Take fish oil whenever you take the probiotics, as it’s food.

Hi Mark. Instead of Omega 3 capsules, I have taken to eating tinned mackerel in brine. However, what concerns me is whether the omega 3 fatty acids may have been oxidized by the cooking process used to cook the mackerel. Is that something to worry about?

Canning fish is a rather gentle process, and the end result provides bioavailable omega-3s.

The fish are cooked whole. Fatty acids are always more stable in whole food form.

The fish are pressure cooked inside the can. This minimizes expose to oxygen and light—two powerful oxidative forces.

Eating canned fish (salmon and albacore) and taking fish oil capsules both result in similar changes to tissue EPA and DHA—so the omega-3s are “making it through.”

Hey Mark,
I’ve been primal for the last year with the exception of December.
I’ve had great success with weight loss but I struggle getting my body fat percentage below 16%. Any tips? And I have been pretty consistent with my sprint training every week

What you try of the following depends on where you’re starting. That’s up to you to decide.

Try skipping a meal each day. By skipping either breakfast or dinner, you’re tacking an extra 4-8 hours of not-eating onto the 8 hours of not-eating already occurring when you sleep. That can boost fat burning and make it easier to reduce your calorie intake.

Try lowering carbs. Carbs tend to creep up. If you’re eating more carbs than you’re earning in the gym, you may be hanging around in an hyperinsulinemic state. This inhibits fat oxidation and makes it harder to burn fat—especially if you’re also eating higher fat at the same time.

Try increasing carbs. If you’re training really hard consistently, you may be earning carbs but not eating them. This can create a depressed metabolism and increase stress hormones, which can hamper fat loss. Pay your glycogen debt.

Try a carb refeed. You may not need to eat more carbs generally. Oftentimes a simple carb refeed consumed shortly before or after an intense workout does the trick.

Make sure you’re lifting heavy things. I find strength training to be one of the most overlooked promoters of fat loss.

Grab a copy of my weight loss troubleshooting eBook. It’s got some great tips.

Dear Mark,
Do you have any recipes that use sardines, preferably after processing them through a food processor? I want to eat sardines, they are healthy, affordable and think I would enjoy the taste, but cannot seem to actually put one in my mouth.


My favorite way to eat sardines (besides just out of the can or slapped onto a salad) is mixed with extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, chopped preserved lemon (fresh lemon juice works too, but the funkiness of the preserved lemon is ideal), kosher salt, coarse pepper, and a few chickpeas (read up on legumes for my updated stance). If you don’t want the chickpeas, throw this onto some salad greens.

A guilty pleasure of mine also involves sardines: rice, sardines, ketchup. Trust me on that. It’s worth the rice to get sardines in your life.

Hey Mark! It may be nice in Southern California, but here in Northern California it’s an “atmospheric river”–not ideal for getting out and walking. My office is small, so no good indoor place to get some steps in. So, my question is–does walking a lot (~20,000+ steps) on other days “make up” for missing days like today when it’s pouring? Or is walking daily more important (even if it’s walking in circles inside your office/home)? Thanks!!

Yeah, totally. You can walk a bunch one day and none the next. Do whatever works. Life is fractal.

Some daily movement is ideal, of course. Options?

Do some light movement routines like the ones laid out in the rajio taiso post from a couple years back. Don’t count this as a “workout,” but do keep moving for a solid 15-20 minutes at a time. Easily done in a small room.

Pace the room. I’d get pretty miserable. I don’t know about you.

Go outside and walk in that storm! There’s nothing like disappearing into a rainstorm, hood up, walking in time to the percussion of the drops thundering down. I like going barefoot when I walk or hike through the rain, as bare feet are easy to wash, rain doesn’t ruin them, and the soles come with equipped with Darwinian anti-slip technology you won’t find elsewhere.

That’s it for today, folks. I’ll get to more questions in the future. For now, though, keep up the great work!


The post Dear Mark: Your Challenge Questions Answered appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Contest: You Might Be Primal If…

bars_igThe Prize:

12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Chocolate Hazelnut Bars: The PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Chocolate Hazelnut Bar is the coveted combination of chocolate and hazelnut we all remember and love, and it’s guilt-free to boot. Nutritional bonus: it’s packed with beneficial healthy fats, 15 grams of protein and low in carbs and sugar (only 3 grams). To craft the perfect high-protein, low-sugar bar, we’ve toasted our hazelnuts for sweet aromatic flavor and crisp, crunchy texture, and paired them with unsweetened chocolate.

12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Macadamia Sea Salt Bars: Who doesn’t love the distinctly buttery, sweet flavor of macadamia nuts with a hint of sea salt? PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Macadamia Sea Salt Bars were created with Mark’s favorite nut in mind and contain only 12 grams of carbs—the lowest carb bar in the PRIMAL KITCHEN™ lineup!

12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Dark Chocolate Almond Bars: Turkish almonds and roasted pumpkin seeds are enrobed in a dark chocolate, chewy, caramel coating with an added touch of coconut for a subtly sweet taste and mightily beneficial impact on your health. All PRIMAL KITCHEN™ protein bars are made with grass-fed collagen protein from Brazil. Collagen has been shown to help improve joint mobility, improve sleep quality, support skin, hair and nail growth, and enhance digestion.*

12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Coconut Cashew Bars: What do you get in a PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Coconut Cashew Bar? Monounsaturated fats for heart health, prebiotic fiber for digestive health, plus antioxidants, minerals and 15 grams of protein from grass-fed collagen. That’s more collagen than a cup of bone broth! Cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds satiate with a nutty crunch, while coconut imbues our bars with a creamy, sweet flavor.

The Contest (an Oldie but a Goodie):

If you were alive in the mid-1990’s, you may remember comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s empire of “You might be a redneck if…” humor. Today I’m looking for “You might be Primal if…” jokes. Think one up and leave it in the comment board.


  • You might be Primal if you’ve been banned from your local grocery store for repeatedly violating the “No shirt, no shoes, no service” policy.
  • You might be Primal if you’ve never used an elevator. Ever.
  • You might be Primal if you prefer your apple with worms.
  • You might be Primal if you accidentally broke your neighbor’s second story window with a kettlebell.
  • You might be Primal if every butcher in America can recognize you on the spot.
  • You might be Primal if you measure friends, relatives, and children not by the mettle of their character, but by how far you could throw them.
  • You might be Primal if you’ve started to use Tabata intervals for dish washing, shopping, shaving, and dating.
  • You might be Primal if you make guests take off their shoes before leaving the house.
  • You might be Primal if you measure time by the number of cows you’ve consumed since an event occurred… “When did we take that trip to Portland?” “Oh, that was about 3 cows ago.”


Anyone in the world can enter, though this prize may only be available to U.S. contestants. In the case of an international winner, substitute prizes of equal value will be shipped.

The Contest End Time:

Midnight PST, tonight!

How the Winner Will Be Determined:

I’ll pick a handful of my favorites and let all of you decide the winner through a reader poll.


The post Contest: You Might Be Primal If… appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Nacho Average Weekend!

His profile!! *heart eyes*

Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for all of your kind words in response to my post. In almost 10 years of blogging, I don’t think I have ever felt so connected to you all. Thank you for making me feel loved. <3

We had a fun, chilled, typical mid-winter weekend ’round here. On Friday night we had Mona Lisa fresh pasta with their bolognese sauce and a sprinkling of kale.

Kiddo version. Surprisingly he was more into the kale than the noodles!

On Friday evening we finished Season 5 of Game of Thrones. What a finale! On to Season 6!!

Our Saturday morning breakfast was coffee, an egg, and a Bread Basket English muffin. I used to buy these muffins before the bakery opened, and love how yeasty they taste.

I took Mazen to the gym where I did a quick workout and then we went in the warm pool for a family swim. Indoor pool swims are our favorite winter activity.

Showering in the family locker room (since Mazen is too old for the women’s locker room) is quite the ordeal. But we survived, and shared a smoothie in the cafe to tide us over to a late lunch. I designed one myself with banana, milk, peanut butter, and kale.

We headed to Wegman’s for groceries next. I am not the biggest fan because it is just SO BIG! If you forget something you have to walk half a mile to find it…

Late lunch from the hot bar. I kind of wish I’d just made a salad or sandwich at home. That’s a tamale in the upper left – that was good!

M and I made a birthday card for Matt and then snuggled with a movie for most of the afternoon. I miss the sun!

At Saturday night’s dinner I had king salmon I bought at Wegman’s that was way too expensive but also way too good!! We ate it with brussels sautéed in bacon with apple and rice.

On Sunday morning I had more toast before heading to the 10 a.m. Afterburn class. That class is KILLER and wore me out!!

Post gym lunch of leftover Friday night dinner.

Plus some of these while I heated up lunch. Had to!

Mazen and I went back to the grocery store because we forgot some things and needed more things from Whole Foods. I think I’m just going to stick to WF from here on, although I do like Wegman’s!

On Sunday evening we were invited to the soft opening of Cho’s, a nacho and beer spot in the old McGrady’s space. Hydraulion Red is my favorite local beer made next door at Three Notch’d.

The menu did not let us down! The nachos were creative and so good. Dessert – wait for it!

Classic nachos:

The Poke-Cho’s had wonton chips, sushi-grade tuna, pickled radish, jalapenos, and two kinds of spicy aioli. Loved these!

And for dessert – S’mores nachos!!!! Baked graham cracker “chips” with toasted marshmallow, chocolate drizzle and vanilla ice cream. SO GOOD!

Nacho everyday restaurant!


The post Nacho Average Weekend! appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food

Clean Eating London Fog Recipe

Clean Eating London Fog Recipe

I realize the majority of my readers are dedicated coffee drinkers. Coffee is life juice in my book. But on occasion, I do enjoy a good cup of tea. I’ve started to get a bit more creative with my… Read more →

from The Gracious Pantry